In a competitive job market it’s natural to feel excited when a job opportunity comes your way, but you also need to be careful not to fall into a toxic employment trap.
Whatever your field, you deserve to be in a supportive and motivating working culture, where your time is valued and you feel comfortable to get on with your work. Unfortunately, some workplaces are troubled with poor management and organization, bullying, cliquiness, and discrimination. That kind of workplace is far from ideal.
A toxic work environment is harmful to your physical and mental health, and can also have a negative impact on your career prospects. It can affect your motivation to work and your ability to do your job well. Getting stuck in an unpleasant working situation can also knock your self-confidence, and make it difficult to leave.
That’s why it’s really important to avoid taking a job in a toxic work environment if you can. To help you decide if a job prospect is actually a career nightmare, Resume.io has put together an infographic with expert advice on 15 warning signs to look out for.
Even before you apply for a job, there are certain indicators that should set alarm bells ringing. Good communication is essential to every professional situation, so if the job description or recruitment process is unclear or confusing, it’s a sign that the company struggles to organize itself in this way.
It pays to do a little research about the company you are thinking of applying to. For example, check out reviews of Glassdoor to get an idea how past and present staff feel about them as an employer. You can expect an occasional negative review, of course, but if the complaints are consistent you should take them seriously.
If you decide that a job is worth going for, the next stage to watch out for is the interview. Don’t forget that you can, and should, ask questions to find out more about your potential employer, the role you are applying for, and the working culture of the company.
You might want some more information about the specifics of the job, or a clearer idea of the working dynamics of the team you are applying to join. It’s also useful to ask about the company’s core values and targets, to see how they align with your own. Whatever you ask, if your interviewer seems guarded, unwilling, or unable to answer, you should be wary of why that is.
When you’re in your prospective workplace, whether for the interview, or a tour of the offices, you should take the opportunity to observe the interpersonal dynamics of the people you might be working with. If the atmosphere is uncomfortably quiet or tense, or workers’ body language suggests that they are uncomfortable, you can imagine that you will not be comfortable working there, either.
If your interview finishes quickly and you get offered the job right away, that might also be a warning sign. It smacks of desperation or lack of thoughtfulness on the interviewer’s part, and it isn’t fair to ask you to make a decision on the spot. Don’t feel pressured to take a job just because it’s handed to you like this. It might be your lucky day, but it could also be a sign of a seriously unhealthy working environment, which you’d be better off avoiding.
Check out the infographic for more things to look out for, and tips for how to ask the right questions of your interviewer.